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lauantai 1. lokakuuta 2016

Marshall Islands, Cool Facts #147

<= 146. Kiribati                                                                                                       148. Micronesia => 



1. Country Named after John Charles Marshall 

Marshall Islands is one of the countries, which has been named after a person. Captain John Charles Marshall together with Thomas Gilbert visited the Marshall Islands in 1788. The native called their home "jolet jen Anij" (Gift from God). In 1820s the Russian explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern and the French explorer Louis Isidore Duperrey drew maps of the islands and named the islands after John Charles Marshall. The name Marshall Islands was then later used in British maps.


Marshall Islands on a map
Countries named after a person

2. European Colonial Powers in Marshall Islands 


Spanish colony
In 1526 Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to see Marshall Islands and in 1592 the Spanish Crown announced that the Marshall Islands were under their control. Spain wanted to monitor the trade route between Mexico and the Philippines by controlling Marshall Islands, but the real power in the islands remained actually in the hands of the local chiefs. The international community recognized Spain's claim over the islands as part of the Spanish East Indies in 1874. The Spanish rule in Marshall Islands ended in 1884, when Spain sold the islands to Germany through papal mediation.

German colony
The German colony of Marshall Islands was administered between 1887-1905 between the German trading company, Jaluit Gesellschaft. Germany acquired more Pacific Ocean islands after the German-Spanish Treaty of 1899, when Germany got the Carolines, Palau and the Marianas from Spain. Germany placed all of its Micronesian islands, under the governor of German New Guinea. In 1914 Germany lost Marshall Islands and many of its Micronesian to Japan, during the First World War.


Territories of the German New Guinea
German Colonial Empire
3. Japanese Influence in Marshall Islands 

Even during the German time and before that, Japanese traders and fishermen occasionally visited the Marshall Islands. After the World War I Germany renounced all of its all of its Pacific possessions, which were passed to Japan by the Treaty of Versailles. The mandate given by the Council of the League of Nations to Japan, to rule the Pacific islands, was called the South Pacific Mandate.

During its colonial rule, Japan moved more than 1000 people to the Marshall Islands. Japan brought their own culture to the islands as indigenous people were educated in Japanese schools and taught Japanese language and culture. Japan also tried to change the social organization in the islands from matrilineality to the Japanese patriarchal system unsuccessfully.

The Japanese rule in Marshall Islands ended when USA occupied them during the Second World War in the 1940s. Formally Marshall Islands and many other Pacific island groups passed to USA by the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which was established in 1947.


Japan-Marshall Islands Summit Meeting

4. Nuclear Weapon Tests in Marshall Islands

Between the years 1946-1958 in the early years of Cold War, USA conducted 67 nuclear weapon tests. The atomic bombs were tested at Pacific Proving Grounds located in the Marshall Islands. Even the largest atmospheric nuclear test ever conducted in history, by the US code name Castle Bravo, was also tested there.

In 1956 the United States Atomic Energy Commission regarded the Marshall Islands as the overwhelmingly most contaminated place in the world. Between 1956-1998 the United States has paid at least 759 million US dollars to the Marshall Islanders in compensation for the exposure to nuclear testing and the negative health effects. The damages were especially bad in Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll.

The hydrogen bomb "Ivy Mike" destroyed the island of Elugelab in the Enewetak Atoll. Most of the people in Bikini Atoll haven't been able to return to their home islands because of the dangerous levels of radioactivity.


1954 "Castle Bravo" nuclear test
1952 "Ivy Mike" nuclear test
Nuclear test at Bikini Atoll, 1946

5. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands 

After the Second World War, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was established in 1947. It meant that the Pacific islands belonging to the trust territory were administered by USA. Marshall Islands got its own government in 1979 and seven years later in 1986, Marshall Islands became independent but was freely associated with the United States. The Compact of Free Association in 1986, meant that Marshall Islands was an independent state but it agreed to let USA continue military use of the missile testing range at Kwajalein Atoll in order to get US aid and defense in return.

Marshall Islands is still highly dependent on the US aid for its economy. USA is committed to pay 57,7 million US dollars per year in assistance through 2013, and then 62,7 million US dollars through 2023 under the terms of the Amended Compact of Free Association. Because of the financial and defense aid from the USA, Marshall Islands like the other former trust territories vote consistently with the USA in the United Nations voting.

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands: 

Northern Mariana Islands - After 1986 in political union with USA
Republic of the Marshall Islands - 1986 independence and free association with USA
Federated States of Micronesia - 1986 independence and free association with USA
Palau - 1994 independence and free association with USA


Compact of Free Association
Ballistic missile testing at Kwajalein Atoll 
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands


Timeline

2nd Millenium BC Micronesians settled the Marshall Islands
1526 Spanish explorer Alonso de Salazar was the first European to see the islands
1529 Spanish Alvaro de Saavedra met local inhabitants and exchanged gifts with them
1592 Spanish Crown announced that the Marshall Islands are under their control because Spain wanted to monitor the trade route between Mexico and the Philippines, the real power remained in the hands of the local chiefs
1788 Captain John Charles Marshall and Thomas Gilbert visited the islands
1820s Russian explorer Adam Johann von Krusenstern and the French explorer Louis Isidore Duperrey named the islands after John Marshall and drew maps of the islands
1857 Two missionaries successfully settled on Ebon and lived with the natives until 1870 at least
1874 The international community recognized Spain's claim over the islands as part of the Spanish East Indies
1884 Spain sold the islands to Germany through papal mediation and Marshall Islands thus became a German Protectorate 
1887-1905 German trading company, Jaluit Gesellschaft administered the islands
1899 German-Spanish Treaty, Germany acquired the Carolines, Palau and the Marianas from Spain
1914 Japanese troops occupied Germany's islands in the Pacific
1919 Treaty of Versailles, Japan took over of all of the German colonies in the Pacific Ocean north of the Equator
1940s USA occupied the islands in the Pacific controlled by Japan
1947 Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands established, which meant that several island groups passed formally to the United States
1946-1958 USA conducted 67 nuclear weapon tests in the Marshall Islands
1979 The Government of the Marshall Islands was officially established and it got autonomy
1986 Compact of Free Association with USA, Marshall Islands became independent as it agreed to let USA continue military use of the missile testing range at Kwajelein Atoll and getting US aid and defense in return
1990 The independence procedure was formally completed under international law and Marshall Islands became a UN member the following year in 1991
1991 USA started paying compensation for people who had lost their homes or suffered physically due to the nuclear weapon tests
1996 The first president Amata Kabua died, who had been in charge since the autonomy and independence of the country
1997 Amata Kabua's cousin Imata Kabua became president
2008 High tides caused a lot of flooding in the capital city of Majuro and other places

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